Since Apple came up with the notch on their iPhone; Samsung, Huawei and Lenovo are kicking off yet another trend. A full display smartphone with a pin hole cut-out. The pin hole or sometimes known as the ‘hole punch’ is home to the front facing camera and is typically found on the top left corner of the display. It is smaller and more discrete than the in your face notch.
In this article, we take a look at 5 of the best full display smartphones with pin hole in place of a notch. Depending on how the public receives this, it is yet another step closer to a proper full display.Still, you can’t help but notice a black spot on the display when viewing in full screen. I guess, this can be quickly rectified by holding your phone, with your thumb over the ‘hole punch’ to hide it from view.
You check out our article on Slider Form Factor Smartphones where you will find that a real full screen device is already possible without any notch or cut-out that is if you can live with a slider form factor. This may be too old school for some given that the old form factor is seen as a little fiddly and flimsy.
The Rise of the ‘O’ Notch – the ‘punch hole’ display to replace the conventional notch
In a recent event, Samsung introduced not one but four different screen treatment for their future smartphones. We already know the Infinity Display, currently on the latest Samsung Galaxy S9, S9 Plus and Note 9. The four new screen treatment includes Infinity U, Infinity V, Infinity O and the New Infinity. We take it that each of these refers to the notch or cut-out on the display. We hope the latter, the New Infinity refers to a real full display, notch-less and free from any cut-outs. The Samsung Galaxy A8s is the first to take on the Infinity O design.
Top 5 Best Full Display Smartphones with Pin Hole Cut-Out
Here is our line-up of the best smartphones with pin-hole or ‘O’ notch. Click on the links below to search on Amazon:
- Honor View 20 (pin hole)
- Samsung Galaxy A8s (pin hole)
- Huawei Nova 4 (pin hole)
- Samsung Galaxy S10 (pin hole)
- Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S (off screen pin hole camera)
Next, we have the Honor View 20, a smartphone with pin hole cut-out on an All-View display. However, it is what sits behind the pin hole notch and the rear camera that Honor wants you to get excited about. The front facing camera housed in the punch hole display is a 25MP camera. For the main shooter however, you get a whooping 48MP sensor dual rear camera using Sony IMX586 sensor. This makes the Honor View 20 the phone with the biggest optical sensor.
The result, incredible low light performance. Combined with clever AI, the intelligent scene recognition will ensure that the perfect shot is achieved whenever, wherever. There is also a 48MP AI Ultra Clarity shooting mode that uses the Kirin 980 processor’s machine learning capabilities to combine multiple 48MP frames for the best output.
The Honor View 20 is priced to compete with OnePlus 6T. It being a sort of flagship for Honor meant it gets a big 6.4-inch All-View display minus the 4.5mm diameter circle for the ‘O’ punch-hole. However, the display is an LCD panel instead of OLED but still, it has a respectable FullHD+ resolution of 2310 x 1080 pixels with 398PPI. The powerful Kirin 980 7nm processor is paired with a spacious 6GB or 8GB RAM memory. For storage, it starts with 128GB with the next size up being 256GB.
- HiSilicon Kirin 980 (7nm) chipset
- 6GB or 8GB RAM memory and 128GB or 256GB storage
- 6.4-inch IPS LCD Full HD+ display 1080 x 2310 pixels 398 PPI density
- 25MP front facing selfie camera, 48MP dual rear facing main camera
In the race to release what is dubbed the next big thing since the notched iPhone X, Samsung kicks things off with the Samsung Galaxy A8s. The Samsung Galaxy A8s is also another mid-life upgrade that is totally different to its current generation Samsung Galaxy A8 and A8+. The biggest difference being the pin hole cut-out design.
This gives the full 6.4-inch AMOLED display a small hole in the top left corner to house the selfie camera. In the pin hole sits a 24-MP front facing camera. The A8S is powered by octa-core processor with 6GB or 8GB of RAM memory and 128GB of storage with a microSD card slot that can support up to 512GB of additional storage. On the rear of the phone you will find the fingerprint sensor, triple rear camera setup (24MP, 10MP and 5MP).
Being a mid-range phone, it doesn’t have the most powerful processor but the Snapdragon 710 chipset, also used on the Lenovo Z5 Pro is no slouch. Perhaps what is going to be a real winner besides the pin-hole 24MP selfie camera is the triple camera setup. The main cameras is a 24MP (f/1.7) lens. For telephoto, it uses the 10MP (f/2.4) lens and finally for depth sensing, a 5MP (f/2.2) lens is used. These lenses are arranged vertically with the LED flash at the bottom.
Bringing the pin-hole notch to the Samsung Galaxy A8s instead of waiting to launch it on the Galaxy S10 is a clear sign from Samsung that it is innovating quickly to compete with the likes of Huawei and Xiaomi. Both companies as well as Huawei’s sub-brand Honor are churning our smartphones with pin-holes in the pipeline.
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 chipset
- 6GB or 8GB RAM and 128GB storage
- 6.4-inch AMOLED display Full HD+ 1080 x 2340 pixels, 403PPI 19.5:9 ratio
- Triple rear camera and 24MP front selfie camera
Huawei Nova 4 is another full display smartphone with pin hole camera. The 6.4-inch device spots a pin hole cut-out on the top left corner of its display. While the display is only based on IPS LCD, it has a Full HD+ resolution of 2310 x 1080 giving it 398PPI density. Powered by the Kirin 970 chip, it has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The front facing camera in the pin hole has a 25MP sensor while on the back you find a triple camera arrangement. They consist of a 48MP, 16MP and 2MP (depth sensor) lenses arranged vertically as oppose to horizontally on the Honor View 20. Like the Honor Vie 30, the Nova 4 still relies on physical rear mounted finger print sensor which is not a bad thing as it helps keep the cost down. In-display fingerprint sensors are still new.
- Hisilicon Kirin 970 (10nm)
- 8GB RAM memory and 128GB storage
- 6.4-inch IPS LCD display with Full HD+ resolution 2310 x 1080 pixels 398PPI
- 48MP, 16MP and 2MP depth sensor triple main rear facing camera, 25MP front facing camera
The next generation Samsung Galaxy S10 is said to come with the same Infinity O design featured on the Galaxy A8s. That is to say, it will have a similar pin hole cut-out on its display to house the front facing camera. How big is the ‘O’ notch? That is a question to be answer on launch day. Leaked images suggests that the punch hole is located on the top right corner instead of the left and there will be more than three phones this time, instead of the typical flagship duo most manufacturers are coming out with. The Samsung Galaxy S10 range is expected to be launched in February 2019. More details to follow.
Xiaomi’s entry is not actually a smartphone with pin hole cut-out on the display. It is actually a true full view display albeit a slightly bigger chin bezel. The company has moved the selfie camera from its traditional location to the bottom bezel. This allowed the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S to achieve a 5.99-inch full display (2160 x 1080 Full HD 403ppi 18:9 aspect ratio), with no notch or cut-outs.
The move sees the front camera relocated to the bottom right corner on the chin bezel, typically used to house the display and touch screen controller as well as the ribbon interconnect. Powerful Snapdragon 845 chipset, generous memory, curved ceramic design, AI dual cameras and Qi wireless charging makes this real full display phone one to beat. However, it still relies on trusty old fingerprint touch sensor located on the backplate.
The location of the camera is controversial. This is akin to Dell moving its web cam from the top of the laptop display to the bottom. It won’t go down well when you conduct web calls only to have your friend staring up your nostril. You might also accidentally cover the camera with your hand depending on how you hold the device. Still, it is a good attempt on Xiaomi’s part, moving the pin-hole out of the display and to the bottom of the screen.
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset
- 6GB RAM and 64GB storage
- 5.99-inch Full HD 2160 x 1080 403PPI 18:9 aspect ratio
- Dual 12MP rear facing main camera with OIS and 2x Optical Zoom, 5MP front facing selfie camera
- Qi wireless charging 3400mAh battery